Windrush Day falls on Tuesday, 22 June this year: a chance to celebrate this vital chapter in the story of our capital's, and country's, diversity. Here are five ways to mark 73 years since the Empire Windrush landed in Tilbury near London, ushering in about 500 settlers from Jamaica and Trinidad.
Read about the journeys, the struggles and the enormous impact of the Windrush Generation
On our Windrush-inspired reading list: Trinidadian-born Sam Selvon's The Lonely Londoners; Back to my Own Country, an essay by Andrea Levy available to read for free (along with a selection of interesting Windrush articles via the British Library's archives here, including this introduction to James Berry's poetry), and The Windrush Betrayal by Amelia Gentleman, independent journalism exposing the Windrush Scandal and giving voices to the victims of it — often credited with leading to Amber Rudd's resignation as home secretary. And there's a big list of ideas for further reading — mixing fiction, biography, photography and more — from Lambeth Libraries.
Of course the Caribbean diaspora's borne far more literary London masterpieces than we can cover here: there'll be somewhere near you or delivering to your door on our list of Black-owned, independent bookshops/publishers — like New Beacon Books, Jacaranda Books and No Ordinary Bookshop — make them your first ports of call for purchases and for inspiration.
Hear from Windrush elders at a family-friendly event from Black Cultural Archives
The Brixton institution's focused on sharing and preserving the stories and history of African and Caribbean people in Britain — and this year they're hosting a family event, with authors reading a new children's book about the arrival of the Windrush, a chance for children to talk to Windrush elders and hear their memories of that time, and a Windrush fact trail for kids, with clues to follow to learn more about the history and importance of the Windrush Generation.
Celebrate with food, music, and art, at Radiate 2021, a community festival in Crystal Palace
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'Bring your flags, rags, whistles, horns & especially your good energy', announces the ticket page for this Crystal Palace twodayer. It's the fourth edition of Radiate this year — a grassroots, community festival in south London. 2021's plans include the usual mix of food, music, sound systems, and activities celebrating Caribbean culture and the contribution of Caribbean people to the UK. The aim is fun and inclusivity, with free entry for under 5s and over 70s, affordable meals, and this year, a new Elders' Garden, to give senior members of the community a welcoming space.
When: 19 and 20 June, from 12 pm, Crystal Palace Park — nearest train station, Crystal Palace. You can book weekend and day tickets in advance, or there'll be more to buy on the door. Tickets are £10 for day entry, with discounts for under 18s, and free tickets for under 5s or over 70s.
Try your hand at Caribbean classics and learn about the influence of Caribbean cookery in the UK
With so much to read, watch, listen to and learn from, Windrush Day 2021's going to be hungry work. Read up on the enormous influence of Afro-Caribbean food in the UK here: for more background we'd recommend these articles from Melissa Thompson on Black erasure in the British food industry and Riaz Phillips on the odds operating against Black people working in the food industry.
Phillips is also the mind behind the Belly Full books; the history of Caribbean food in the UK and the L'il Cookbook are both available as e-books, so you can order now and be ready to try your hand at Ital Stew and Guinness Punch by the weekend. Caradise 'Original Flava' is also home to a brilliant wealth of recipes.
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Phillips's books also come with a lot of inspiration for eating out, stacked with great traders, restaurateurs and food sector businesses across the city and country. Ours'll be hot-off-the-BBQ jerk from Croydon's Big Mike's Calypso Kitchen, and vegan curries from Brixton's Eat of Eden: let us know your local, delivery-distance favourites in the comments.
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